New report says health care is top concern for voters of Chinese origin

Photos by Márcio Cabral de Moura (left) and Travis Nep Smith (right) via Flickr

With an expected high Chinese community voter turnout, a survey by Social Insights shows that health care and job are the top issues for voters of Chinese origin.

"Chinese community cares a broader range of issues as other communities do. However the community pays more attention to those closer to their daily life including heath care and job," said report lead researcher Barton Li. "On health care, Chinese community is aware of the problems of the in comprehensive system in their places of origin and appreciates the Canadian system. They see the importance to keep the system strong in Canada."

Health care topped the list of concerns for the potential voters at 56 per cent, followed by job and employment, immigration policy, environmental issues and child’s education.

Social Insights' data collection arm the North America Chinese Panel surveyed 245 participants of Chinese origin between the end of September and mid October and who reside in the great Vancouver region. The responses were collected through WeChat, website, email and printed questionnaires.

“Surprisingly to some, housing issue and related real estate policy are less worrisome for voters of Chinese origin,” the study said. “This polling results show that only 3 in 10 cited housing and real estate policy as their priority concern. Issues such as government spending, gas price and crime, which are considered critical issues among the general public as frequently reported in the media, appeared less significant than the top five issues.”

Majority of the respondents were from Richmond (49 per cent), followed by Vancouver (27 per cent), Burnaby (14 per cent), and 10 per cent from the rest of the great Vancouver regions.

The report also looked into the possible voter turnout for this election. Voters of Chinese origin have previously been perceived as an ethnic group with the lowest turnout to cast ballots, the study noted.  

When asked “will you cast a vote in the municipal election 2014 or the federal election 2015?” as 72 per cent of respondents indicated either “definitely to vote” or “likely to vote” in the next election; majority of those numbers came from a younger demographic, between the ages of 18 to 34.

"To reach the Chinese community effectively, on top of the traditional channels, which includes but not limit to newspapers, radio, TV, out of home ads, attending community events, candidates may want to reach potential voters via popular Chinese social media channels, such as WeChat and Weibo, in Chinese language, especially to the new comers from China," said Li. "For example, Gregor Robertson has 86998 Weibo followers as of Nov. 13."

The community said Robertson was the most familiar candidate in all levels of the election (at 77 per cent), with present MP Alice Wong (62 per cent), Ms. Wendy Yuan (59 per cent), and current Mayor of Richmond Mr. Malcolm Brodie (53 per cent) following behind.

"This polling is targeted at Chinese community, which may be under represented in other previous polling using English and telephone method. Our study used Chinese language and new social media platforms to overcome these problems," said Li. "We hope that the results can offer a focused snapshot to reflect a true voice of the general public in this community."

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